Indiana politicians are indicating they want to return money they received from embattled Fair Finance Co. co-owner Timothy Durham, the court-appointed trustee for the Akron business said Tuesday.
''We are getting calls from politicians now about repaying the money they received in donations,'' Fair Finance Trustee Brian Bash said during a regular monthly status report hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Akron.
Bash earlier this month identified some politicians and political organizations that received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Durham — money Bash said came from Ohio residents who bought investment certificates from Fair Finance Co.
In a conference call in open court Tuesday, Bash, a Cleveland-based lawyer, didn't name specific Indiana individuals or political organizations who he said received Fair Finance money.
But earlier this month in a meeting with about 200 Fair Finance creditors and investment certificate holders, Bash said his forensic accountant found:
• Indianapolis prosecutor Carl Brizzi received $225,000;
• Mitch (Daniels) for Governor received $195,000;
• Indiana Republican State Committees got $185,000;
• House Republican Campaign Committee got $60,000;
• Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee got $33,000;
• Others received $200,000 in political contributions from Durham ''and related entities.''
Bash's formal status report said he has entered negotiations with ''some politicians'' for the return of funds and sent out additional requests for return of funds based upon additional information he has obtained. Kelly Burgan, counsel for Bash, said the trustee continues to investigate the company's books and claims.
Tuesday's regular monthly status update on the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of Fair Finance Co. was relatively short.
The report filed with the court showed:
• Valuable and collectible cars owned by Fair Finance co-owner Durham and seized by the FBI will be sold by the federal government, with proceeds going to the Fair Finance estate.
• Bash has met with the Ohio Division of Securities and accounting firm KPMG to review Fair Finance-related information.
• Bash has met with the Securities and Exchange Commission to review information.
• The trustee has received electronic copies of information seized from the federal government and loaded the documents into computers for searching.
• Obtained mortgages on properties owned by Durham and negotiated ''an agreement in principal'' to place a mortgage on property owned by Fair Finance co-owner James Cochran.
• Received a shipment of artwork owned by Durham; the artwork is expected to be auctioned off.
• Continued a court case against Daniel Laikin, former head of National Lampoon Inc., who borrowed millions of dollars from Fair Finance.
The full report can be read online at http://www.fairfinancetrustee.com.
Most of the hourlong proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Akron dealt with legal wrangling among Fair Finance's lawyers and attorneys representing FCS Advisors, also known as Brevet Capital Advisors, which has been drawn into the litigation.
The court hearing was the latest event in the Fair Finance saga. The Akron accounts receivables and consumer loan company was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February by people who purchased investment certificates from the company. More than 5,000 Ohio residents — most of whom live in the greater Akron area — paid more than $200 million for the uninsured investment certificates.
Federal officials said in court documents that they suspect Fair Finance, sold in 2002 to Indiana businessmen Durham and Cochran, was being operated as a Ponzi scheme. While officials say investigations continue, there have been no charges filed or arrests made since FBI raids on Fair Finance last Nov. 24.
The next scheduled status report hearing is 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
People who purchased investment certificates from Fair Finance need to have their proof of claim forms received in a California office by Oct. 8.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.